Arcana: Vatican Archives

Arcana Vatican Archives

Honey from the Papal apiaries, Roman figs, Atlas cedarwood, smoky frankincense and myrrh, crimson musk, black musk, and smudgy parchment musk.

Based on notes alone, this is definitely my kind of scent. I love a good spooky blend! I also just watched the film Angels and Demons, so the Vatican Archives have been on my mind. The only worrying note is the cedarwood, since I tend to amp that.

In the bottle: This is dark. I’m getting a very strong musk blend that almost reminds me out oudh, with a hint of church incense and figs. It’s ancient and scholarly; I can really smell that kind of “old tome” smell from the parchment musk.

On the skin: Whoa. Brace yourselves, because this is a strong scent. Lots of throw here. I’m really surprised on how this smells on me, honestly. I was expecting something in a similar vein to sixteen92 Liber Officiorum Spirituum, but it’s not like that at all. It’s very heady, with a fruity incense kind of vibe. I feel like that’s due to the combo of the figs, honey, and church incense. I don’t get any cedarwood, which I don’t mind. Of the musks, the red musk is most prominent. I don’t get much in the way of parchment on me. I could swear that there is oudh in it, because I keep smelling it. This is a dirty, mysterious smelling scent. I was hoping for something more book-heavy, and this is a bit too incense-y for me, despite the fact that I like church incense. I feel like I might like this on someone else who amps the parchment instead of the incense combo. I’m quite surprised! I thought for sure that this was going to be the big winner for me from this collection.

TL;DR: Fruity, heady incense and musk. Not what I was expecting, and I don’t like it on me. 3/5.

Arcana: Small Cottage in a Clearing

Arcana Small Cottage in a Clearing

Milky coffee with white sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and a faint undercurrent of dangerous black musk.

There are few smells better than the smell of a good cup of fragrant coffee. I’ve been looking for the perfect coffee scent for a while now, and I got this scent in a swap. Will it be the coffee scent that I’ve been looking for?

In the bottle: Mmmmm. I’m getting a warm cup of beautifully brewed coffee with a lot of spices. It’s sweet and cinnamon-y and just delicious smelling. I think I can detect that tiny hint of black musk in the back that prevents it from going too gourmand.

On the skin: The musk comes out big time on the skin, making the coffee scent almost smoky. There is a dry quality to the scent as well, like coffee beans before they’ve been ground. The spices are more subtle on the skin too. I much prefer the scent as it is in the bottle, so this one is gonna go into the destash pile for me.

TL;DR: Smoky, dry, musky coffee. Not bad, but not fantastic. 3.5/5.

Arcana: Aestas


Arcana Aestas

Madagascar vanilla, yellow cake, soft peach nectar, golden musk, black musk, and a hint of patchouli.

Today is a review of a scent that I have been wanting for a while now. Named after the ancient Roman goddess of summer, Aestas has a bunch of notes that I adore: peach, patchouli, vanilla, and musk. My only hesitation came in the form of the cake, since I don’t like overly foodie blends. Despite that, I was super happy to find a full bottle because I had a feeling that this was going to be a scent that I would love.

In the bottle: Oooooo. I’m getting the most glorious peach note with some subtle vanilla cake. The peach note is identical to the one in NAVA Adele, to my nose. Actually, this is like a muskier version of Adele!

On the skin: I’m getting more of that buttery cake, and the peach note is no longer similar to Adele; Adele’s peach note is lighter and more delicate, whereas the Arcana peach note is much richer.  It’s heavier and almost more sensual. The musks are still very present, and I like that because it prevents the scent from being too sweet and foodie. I’m starting to get some of that patch, but it’s not in your face at all. Someone who hates patchouli would still like this scent, I think. Frankly, I wish there was a bit more patch, but that’s really the only complaint I have with this scent. It’s rich and golden and absolutely stunning.

TL;DR: Rich, golden peaches with buttery vanilla cake rounded out with musk and the smallest touch of patch. Glorious. 7/5.

Arcana: The Kraken

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Arcana The Kraken

Gorgeous smoked vanilla, black vanilla, saltwater, China musk, and black musk.

I’m low-key scared of trying aquatic perfumes, because the ones I have smelled before always came our smelling like astringent sunscreen. However, since I’ve fallen down the indie rabbit hole, I figured I should give them another shot. The Kraken seemed like a good bet since it has the vanilla in it and I adore vanilla. You can find this scent in Arcana’s ebay store. It retails for $20 US.

In the bottle: I’m confused. It’s very perfume-y and I don’t sense any vanilla. It’s just black musk and something weirdly floral.

On the skin: Once I applied it, it turned rather powdery and musky. Eventually, the saltwater came out with the hint of vanilla which gives it an almost spicy smell. There’s also something very skin-like about it, which makes it quite sensual. I find this to be a very masculine scent; Killian from “Once Upon a Time” would smell like this. Seriously, if I smelled this on a guy, I would melt into a puddle. The longer I wear it, the more I like it.

TL;DR: Powdery, musky skin smell with a hint of saltwater. Smells like a hot pirate who actually bathes. 4/5